UK stock markets recover from early losses to nudge modestly into positive territory with little real direction provided by mixed markets elsewhere across the globe. Europe's main indexes are largely higher, although not by much, while there were losses recorded across the pond overnight.
The benchmark FTSE 100 makes very modest single-digit gains to trade around the 6,037 mark, with midcaps similarly unremarkable, although small caps drigft a little lower, the FTSE Small Cap index squeezed 0.1% lower to 4,513.
On the corporate news front, shares in scandal-hit Volkswagen continue their recovery after yesterday's resignation of chief executive Martin Winterkorn, gaining 4.4% to €124. That helps out UK-listed automotive engineer GKN (GKN), which gains 1.5% to 265p, and catalytic converter manufacturer Johnson Matthey (JMAT), up 1.6% to £24.17.
General merchandise discounter Poundland (PLND) cheapens 5% to 294.5p on a disappointing, impromptu first half trading update. This arrives alongside news Poundland plans to raise £50 million through a placing to help fund the fully Competition & Markets Authority-cleared acquisition of rival 99p Stores; Poundland also points out 99p Stores' trading may have deteriorated though insists it is primarily a real estate deal.
Among bigger movers, pallets firm RM2 (RM2:AIM) crashes 28% to 41.5p as it confirms a significant impact is likely in its financial performance from a decision to change pallet friction coatings from powder to a gel-based system.
Drone specialist Strat Aero (AERO:AIM) slumps 18.4% to 3.88p after reporting project delays and a surprise change to the board. Chief executive Russell Peck and non-executive director Bob Salluzzo have left with immediate effect. The company now wants to become a one-stop-shop for unmanned aerial vehicles, so has brought in a more corporate-savvy boss.
GP surgery landlord Assura (AGR) dives 11.2% to 56.1p on plans for a £309 million placing and open offer to reduce debt and fund £125 million worth of acquisitions and development projects. The shares will be sold at 50p each, a 21% discount to Wednesday’s closing price, if shareholders give their approval on 12 October.
Petra Diamonds (PDL) continues its descent, falling another 6.8% to 92.3p as investors worry about weakness in the diamond market. We explain the reasons why the share price may continue to struggle near-term in the new issue of Shares, out today.
Cancer diagnostic developer Angle (AGL:AIM) climbs 6.5% to 81p on Barts Cancer Institute’s reporting 100% success in collecting prostate cancer samples from sufferers by using Angle’s Parsortix system.